Enabling Workers on Location September 2015
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Fujitsu (Tokyo, Japan) has developed a wearable device for industrial applications. The head-mounted device features several sensors, a display, a camera, and two microphones. Users can operate the device via voice controls or an arm-mounted keyboard. Fujitsu designed the device to enable hands-free operation by workers engaging in assembly and infrastructure-maintenance tasks. The device's display can provide wearers with information from instruction manuals and directions from remote support staff, who can see what the wearer is seeing. The device is part of the company's Ubiquitousware initiative to develop Internet of Things devices for enterprise use.
In 2014, Deutsche Post DHL (Bonn, Germany) ran a pilot project at a distribution center in the Netherlands to test smart glasses running augmented-reality software. The glasses projected process steps within the employees' visual field, overlaying instructional information on the physical environments in which the employees were operating. During the pilot, efficiency increased by 25%. Volkswagen (Volkswagen Group; Wolfsburg, Germany) is considering using a similar technology for its operations. Experts also envision the use of such augmented-reality applications on construction sites (to aid in complicated assembly work) and during surgeries (to enable conferencing with remote specialists).
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the US Department of Defense (Arlington County, Virginia), is working on a way to help military personnel achieve their goals. The agency has inaugurated the Restoring Active Memory Replay program to study memory formation and recall. The program aims to help "individuals better remember specific episodic events and learned skills." DARPA program manager Justin Sanchez explains, "Military personnel carry a growing responsibility to recount, report and act upon knowledge gleaned from previous experiences, and how well those experiences are recalled can make all the difference in how well these individuals perform in combat and other challenging situations."